MK Sharren Haskel (Likud).
(photo credit: FACEBOOK)
Possession of cannabis for personal use would no longer go on a person’s criminal record, if legislation proposed by MK Sharren Haskel on Monday becomes law.
According to the bill, which is supported by MKs in the coalition and opposition, anyone over 21 who grows one marijuana plant, or has 15 or fewer seeds or up to five grams of cannabis may do so without criminal liability.
However, cannabis use would remain illegal, and doing so in public or when under age 21 or owning more than the permitted amount would carry a fine.
“This bill is not meant to encourage cannabis use or make a social statement,” Haskel said. “In recent years, it has become clearer that the existing Dangerous Drugs Law does not match the mindset of a free and democratic country, and it should be changed.”
The Likud MK pointed out that the vast majority of drug cases are for use and possession alone, and very few – 16 percent to 18 percent – are for sale.
Therefore, the government will save the high cost of law enforcement against individual cannabis users. Haskel suggested that the money saved be used for education on the dangers of smoking.
Haskel said most of the people who smoke marijuana are not otherwise criminals, and a 2011 report of the UN’s Global Commission on Drug Policy recommended decriminalization of possession of cannabis for personal use.
Israel Anti-Drug Authority acting director-general Eitan Gorney said: “I would expect MKs to deal with positive legislation and not promoting the growth of drugs. This bill is harmful and we are certain that most MKs will not let it pass. It is unfortunate that there is still a number of MKs who propose bills for populist reasons that, just by being proposed, create a legitimization of drug use among youth and adults.”